It is often seen that freelance bloggers are distracted by many activities and diversions and can get very little done at the end of their work day. This is why they should learn time management and time planning from professional bloggers who consistently churn out high quality articles despite their busy work schedule and hectic life. It is not difficult to start a blog but it is really difficult to constantly keep writing high quality blog posts at regular frequency for your blog.
Apart from distractions in their own home for freelance bloggers there are a ton of distractions from the electronic media. Social media websites, emails, phone calls, skype, gtalk and what not are always abuzz during the business hours. It is really a difficult task to concentrate amidst so much external distractions. Hence you have to adopt a few time management tricks to get your job done on time.
1. Time management or time planning
Daily planning – at the end of your work day lay down the plan for your next work day. If you are planning to write a new blog post then define the time you plan to start writing the blog post. Also plan out how much of time you want to dedicate for the first draft of the post.
When you start writing a blog post make sure you devote the entire time you planned to dedicate to it without interruption. Literally force yourself into the task at hand until it is completely done.
You have to restrict yourself actively from visiting social media sites and checking emails. Often bloggers drift away from the topic while writing and keep reading other blogs on the internet. This is a vicious cycle. Set a time limit for reading inspirational articles as well.
2. Set an alarm or timer
When you begin to write on a topic and have already planned up a chunk of time for the same, make sure you do not get up from your seat before you finish that time slot or complete that blog post. This has to be practiced regularly by every wannabe blogger so that it becomes a habit.
3. Set a firm deadline
When you start a blog you have to write regularly throughout the lifetime of the blog if you want to make it successful. Suppose you decide to do one post per day : you have to set yourself a firm deadline to write one article everyday without fail. If you are somehow not able to complete the quota then you have to set out to compensate that the next day. This is important because once you miss your deadline you will enter into a habit of missing them and your blog will suffer. Hence you have to set a deadline and it has to be a firm one.
4. Plan in your head, to save time
Planning a blog post up in your head is a great and very effective technique of timemanagement. Many professional bloggers do this regularly to save time. Suppose you draw inspiration to write on a topic from the real world. You do not have to immediately rush to a computer and start writing. You can start by planning the headline in your head and then start framing up the key points on the topic all in your head. When you get a piece of paper jot them down and then a great blog post will flow out once you are in the front of a computer. This will come with practice and believe me it is not at all a difficult thing to do.
5. Learn to say ‘NO’
Every freelance blogger should learn to say ‘NO’. There will always be friends who will call you to hang out. Their will be neighbours who will think that you do not have any work to do since you are working from home. You will have to make them understand clearly that working from home does not mean you have no work. In fact you have to sometimes work harder than an employed person. When such odd requests to hangout comes from friends or neighbours tell them a big ‘no’ firmly but politely.
6. Set smaller milestones
Suppose, while doing day planning for your next day, you set up a target for your whole work day. At the fag end of the day you find that not much has been accomplished. You end up losing almost your whole work day. So it is always better to set up smaller deadlines and goals. Say you plan to do research for a blog post for two hours and then plan to draw up the rough draft of the article for the next two hours. If you cannot achieve the first part of your goal you will have time to speed up the second part thereby meeting your target.
7. Reward yourself
After you achieve a task that you set for a particular timeline you will have to reward yourself for achieving it. By rewards I mean give yourself 15 minutes of social media time or gift yourself a beautiful hot cup of cappuccino in your favourite coffee joint. For bigger milestones or maybe quarterly you could go for a small vacation or buy yourself a DSLR that you have been longing for. The human brain is an amazing organ and this reward system really works wonders even if it is done with your own money.
8. Use your ‘mornings’ for creative blog post
Several professional bloggers said that they get the most creative idea during the mornings. The mind is fresh after a restful night and flow of words come faster. It works for me as well. I use the late hours to read other posts for inspiration. I then plan up a post in my head. Then the next morning I have my own insights to write about.
9. Avoid Multitasking
Prioritize each task. Complete one task properly, completely and in order of their priority before moving on to the next. This habit will eliminate the switching time. Our brain needs a little bit of time to adapt to different types of tasks. Set time slot for every task and assign the full time allotted for that task to that task only.
10. Report SPAM emails regularly
You might be wondering how reporting spam mails can save time! Well believe me it really does save a lot of time. Every day we spend a lot of time deleting spam emails and we are unaware of it. If we put in a little bit of extra effort to mark those emails as spam then they will not reach our inbox from the next working day and we shall save a lot of time while checking our emails every morning. Also remember to unsubscribe from mailing lists you are no longer interested in.
11. Organize your desk
We spend a lot of time looking for items every day. If our desks are cluttered with coffee mugs, calculators, pens, mobile phones, tablets, external hard drives, DVDs paper clips, physical mails etc. then we shall have a hard time finding what we are looking for and this will result in a lot of wastage of time. Research also says that a clean desk helps you to think properly as well. Keep things you need every day on the desktop and remove the rest to some other place.
12. Coffee or smoke breaks
While taking a break every half an hour is a good habit for people doing prolonged computer work but longer breaks waste a lot of time and breaks concentration. So take your breaks every half an hour but do not go out for a smoke or coffee. Smoking is injurious to health as well. Keep a coffee mug and a flask full of hot coffee on your desk if you think you cannot do without caffeine.
While some of the tips like marking spam mails and organizing your desk might seem insignificant hence let me tell you that every bit counts. If you can save 60 minutes every day by following my tips then you would be saving :-
60 X 365 = 21900 minutes / year
which is 21900 / 60 = 365 hours or 365 / 24 = 15 days.
So you can go for a 15days vacation and working at the same time every year following these tips outlined above. Sounds interesting?
I would love to hear more such tips form you so that myself and other readers can go for a one month long vacation at the end of every year. Use the comments section to post your views. Also if you liked the post then share it with your friends and family who can benefit from it.
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